Windows Defender ATP Made Available On Mac As 'Microsoft Defender ATP'

Microsoft is best known for its Windows. It then ventures to offer Office, cloud services, and more. This time, the company wants to go beyond that.

The company has announced that its Windows Defender ATP solution is made available on Apple's Mac computers.

Previously unique for Windows for protecting machines of Microsoft 365 subscribers, the software goes to Mac with the name 'Microsoft Defender ATP'.

Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Office and Windows, explained that:

"For us, it’s all about experiences that follow the person and help the individual be more productive."

"Just like we did with Office back in the day — that was a big move for us to move it off of Windows-only — but it was absolutely the right thing. So that’s where we’re headed."

"We’ve been working closely with industry partners to enable Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) customers to protect their non-Windows devices while keeping a centralized 'single pane of glass' experience," wrote Eric Avena, a senior content developer Microsoft, in a post announcing Microsoft Defender ATP.

There are two key parts for this cross-platform support for Microsoft Defender ATP on Mac:

  1. A new user interface on Mac clients called Microsoft Defender ATP. The user interface brings a similar experience to what users see on Windows 10 devices.
  2. Reporting for Mac devices on the Microsoft Defender ATP portal.

Initially on a limited preview, Microsoft Defender ATP that can be installed on devices running macOS Mojave, macOS High Sierra, or macOS Sierra, provides antimalware protection and allows end users to review and perform configuration of their protection, including:

  • Running scans, including full, quick, and custom path scans.
  • Reviewing detected threats.
  • Taking actions on threats, including quarantine, remove, or allow.

Users will also be able to configure advanced settings, such as:

  • Disabling or enabling real-time protection, cloud-delivered protection, and automatic sample submission.
  • Adding exclusions for files and paths.
  • Managing notifications when threats are found.
  • Manually checking for security intelligence updates.

After previously 'loving' Linux and supporting open-source, Microsoft under Satya Nadella reorients, and is moving away from its “Windows-centric approach.”

Spataro likened this move as Microsoft in bringing its Office apps to the iPad and Android.

“We’re just headed in that same direction of saying that it’s our intent that we can secure every endpoint so that this Microsoft 365 experience is not just Windows-centric,” Spataro said.

Given that Microsoft Defender is part of the Microsoft 365 package, there are reasons why users would even want to have Windows Defender ATP on Mac.

This includes enterprises that use a mix of Windows machines and Mac, and those companies and organizations that provided employees with Office.

Having a security solution that spans both systems can greatly reduce complexity for IT departments.

In addition to the launch of the Microsoft Defender ATP on Mac, the company also announced the launch of new threat and vulnerability management capabilities for the service.

"What we’re hearing from customers now, is that the landscape is getting increasingly sophisticated, the volume of alerts that we’re starting to get is pretty overwhelming," Spataro said. "We really don’t have the budget to hire the thousands of people required to sort through all this and figure out what to do."

According to Spataro, the announcements highlight Microsoft in morphing into more of a security company than ever before.

"I think we’ve made a lot more progress than people realize,” he said. “And it’s been driven by the market.”